It’s been a long weekend of moving and no Internet; suffice it to say I’ve got posts I want to put out there that are far more pressing (or interesting) than this, but I figured I’d get this out of the way now while I have a minute.
It looks like my prediction was correct. How ’bout that. Let’s take a look at some of the key participants.
David Pauley didn’t do what was needed of him; namely, he wasn’t perfect. Since my post, he’s given up 3 earned runs in 8.1 innings, ballooning his ERA all the way to a gaudy 1.38. EGAD! In all seriousness, this would’ve been an uphill battle even if he HAD been perfect. It takes a mountain of circumstances going your way for a middle-reliever to make an All Star Game. Mostly, their inclusion is a reward for a team being in first place at the break (and, generally, being in first place in convincing fashion, like the 2001 Mariners). Teams that are hovering just below .500 and in third place don’t get the luxury of having a middle reliever make the team (unless, of course, that lone middle reliever is the team’s best player because the rest of the team is so bad; in which case, why wouldn’t that reliever be starting or closing games? I guess we’ll have to ask Aaron Crow to find out the answer to THAT mystery).
The biggest snub on the team easily goes to Michael Pineda, but when you look at this thing Big Picture style, I can see both sides of the argument. On the one hand, the Mariners have some of the best pitching in all of baseball. In particular, their starters rival the best rotations at a fraction of the cost and hype (Phillies, Giants, etc.). These Mariners pitchers are working in constant pressure situations (46 of our 85 games have been decided by 2 runs or less) and still keeping us in contention despite an offense that might actually be worse than last year’s historically inept squad. So, naturally, a team with pitching like that would deserve more than just the two guys they gave us. And Michael Pineda would be the most-deserving of the left-over bunch (plus, let’s face it, he’s a rookie and he’s exciting as hell).
On the other hand, we are a sub-.500 team. It would be foolish to expect anything more than what we got. Therefore, to get Pineda on the team, you’d have to snub either Felix or League. Can’t snub League, he’s leading the AL in saves. And as for Felix, you could argue Felix vs. Pineda until you’re blue in the face, but it all boils down to reputation. Felix was the Cy Young Award winner last year. He’s not having a terrible season this year, even if he’s not exactly mowing opposing lineups down by sheer will. A 3.35 ERA is nothing to sneeze at, and his 124 strikeouts rank third in the AL. If Pineda, with the same numbers next season, gets snubbed two years in a row, then I’ll start calling shenanigans. But for now? I’ll just say that if C.C. Sabathia can’t crack an All Star squad with his numbers and high profile, then it’s probably a moot point that Pineda was left off.
As for King Felix? Good for him. Of course, it sucks because from what I understand he’s pitching the Sunday before the game and therefore will be ineligible to participate in the actual All Star Game. But, you know, it’s one more small thing to throw on the resume.
And bravo to Brandon League. He rode out a river of shit-smelling foulness in early May and came through smelling like roses. He’s still leading the league in saves, his ERA is back down to a respectable 3.28, and only Mariano Rivera rivals him in K/BB ratio among the top 4 saves leaders (all of whom made the team; with the only other reliever being the aforementioned Aaron Crow, KC’s lone invitee).
It will be interesting to see if League gets to pitch an inning (or, heavens forbid, the 9th inning of a save situation). Assuming he’s actually there (his wife is expected to foist another human into this world anytime between now and then), I have to wonder. After all, Ron Washington is managing the team. I gotta think any way he can stick it to the Mariners, he’s going to do it. The Mariners could be that rare team who has 2 All Stars and neither participates. That would be unfortunate.
Finally, a few words for Ichiro. He’s getting a remarkable amount of publicity for not making the All Star Game for the first time ever. I know the national media is pretty out of touch with all things Seattle, but Christ, just take a look at the guy’s batting average and consider your investigation closed! Of all the snubs in all the towns in all the world, Ichiro’s would have to fall to dead last. It’s a non-issue, national sports writers; let this one go.
Although, if the rumor was true that was spreading around Safeco on Saturday night (that the earthquake & tsunamis severely interrupted Internet service in Japan, thereby rendering Ichiro’s International Vote Totals to their lowly point), then that’s just got to be the cherry atop the sundae for them, huh? All that devastation and destruction, and now they don’t even get to see Ichiro play in the All Star Game!